Plautus' Trinummus has won much praise from those who seek a strong ethical line in comedy and believe that, in the rare instance of this Plautine play, they have found it. Such critics classify it as an exception from the usual irreverence of the playwright, along with the Captivi. More than 200 years ago, Lessing extolled the Captivi as the finest play, not just of Plautus, but of antiquity. The Trinummus came a close second in his estimation, and he demonstrated his affection for both plays by translating and commenting on the Captivi, and by adapting the Trinummus for the German stage in 1750, at the youthful age of twenty-one. Ritschl chose the Trinummus as the first Plautine work to bring out in a careful critical edition, and his edition elicited one of the finest reviews of Theodor Bergk in 1848. The apparently noble ethics of this play encouraged E. P. Morris to edit it for American school and college students, at the end of the nineteenth century. In this century, affection for pronounced ethics has somewhat declined. Therefore, although critics continue to perceive the same emphasis, they are less willing to extol the play as a masterpiece. E. F. Watling, in his Penguin translation of 1964, rather tepidly summarizes the Trin. as ‘a cool leisurely comedy, which offers an agreeably convincing, if partial, picture of Graeco-Roman family problems.’ A decade later, Erich Segal provocatively labeled it as Plautus' only boring play, precisely because of its unusual ethical contents.